The Emerald Tower
Isabel Lydia Whitney
Modernizing the Urban Landscape
By the late 1920s, signs of modernization and industrialization were intruding on the residential neighborhood of Brooklyn Heights, where Isabel Lydia Whitney grew up. The Emerald Tower and The Blue Peter are part of a series of works Whitney painted about 1927 of the changing area. Exhibited in 1928, the series was praised for its honest depiction of the American scene and “the poignancy of transition.”
In The Emerald Tower, the iconic Brooklyn Bridge is relegated to the far distance, and the painting is dominated instead by the new Squibb building, part of a manufacturing plant for a pharmaceutical company. The masts, smokestacks, and rigging seen in The Blue Peter hint at the encroachment of waterfront commerce.
Oil on canvas
24 x 18 in. (61 x 45.7 cm)
Frame: 27 x 21 x 2 in. (68.6 x 53.3 x 5.1 cm) (show scale)
Signed lower right: "Isabel Whitney"
Gift of Mrs. James H. Hayes
Brooklyn Heights, circa 1927. Squibb Building at night, lighted by indirect method. Brooklyn Bridge in distance, carrying lighted train. View down Columbia Heights toward Fulton Ferry. Believed to be the first use of indirect lighting in Greater New York. [comments from donor, 1954]
This item is not on view
Isabel Lydia Whitney (American, 1884-1962). The Emerald Tower, 1927-1928. Oil on canvas, 24 x 18 in. (61 x 45.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mrs. James H. Hayes, 54.18 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 54.18_PS2.jpg)
overall, 54.18_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2009
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